Due to the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari who has been on on medical vacation for more than 90 days, popular musician, Charlie Boy and his group ‘Our-Mumu-Don-Do,’ has been staging a peaceful protest in Abuja since Monday, August 7, demanding that he either returns from his London trip or resigns from office.
However, the Senior Special Assistant to the president on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, while speaking on ARISE Television said Buhari has not contravened any law and therefore, there was no basis for the calls for his resignation.
“Honestly speaking, if they have work to do, they should go and do their business. This is because there is no basis for the demand they are making in law.
“The president has done the needful. The constitution says he can take this kind of leave and hand over power and so long that he has handed over power to the vice president….
“The National Assembly was duly notified, the constitution does not say there is time limit as to when he should return and therefore to now say he should return or resign, what is your basis for making that request. Are you backed by the law?
“The president has violated no law. What he is doing is consistent with the constitution of this country. The country should be governed by laws and not by thuggery,” Shehu said.
Even though Buhari’s spokesman said that no date has been set aside for his principal’s return, he expressed optimism that the president would return “pretty soon.”
Responding to the question on why the president choose to speak to Nigerians through his series of visitors in London rather than via technology, Shehu said:
“They would still have denied it. There is a saying that one who is pretending to be asleep is harder to wake up than the one who is actually sleeping. So the people who are determined not to believe, even if they see the president they would still be in that doubt.
“So at the right time, the president would be speaking to Nigerians.”
Speaking on the audio recording sent to Nigerians during Muslim holiday, Shehu said the recording was a private message that leaked to the media, explaining that perhaps it was not intended for a larger audience.
“However, good enough it was evidence that the president was alive at the time when some people were saying the president had died. So if I had the recording privately, I would have produced this recording myself but somehow we saw it and it did serve that purpose,” he said.
Explaining why Buhari’s sickness is not fully disclosed, Shehu said the president was choosing his moment.
“Without being asked the last time he opened up and said what he went through for the ailment he had. The thing is that since it is not a requirement of the law, well maybe, for politics or whatever that people are demanding this notwithstanding, the president is entitled to a level of privacy.
“Let me say that in fairness to the president, I think he has said as much that needs to be known. In the past, we never knew Nigerian heads of state had headache.
“So for the first time, we have a president who has come out to say I am not well and is doing something others have not done before. Nigerian presidents usually go on vacation and not surrender power to the next in command.
“President Buhari has given the reins of power to the vice president while he takes care of his health.
“Nigerians should be contented that he has been as forthright as he can be with the situation and at the appropriate time, he would come clean,” he declared.